Chicago Software Process Improvement Network (C-SPIN) Meeting
AT&T Center Campus: AT&T Institute - 2501 W. Eagle Way -- Hoffman Estates, IL 60192

Unmythology and the Science of Estimation

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

6:00 - 7:00 PM – Atrium: Registration & Networking
6:20 - 6:40 PM – Discussion on a topic related to program.
7:00 - 8:30 PM – Auditorium: Presentation
8:30 - 9:00 PM – Auditorium: additional Q&A and discussion


Few aspects of systems development are as poorly executed as project estimation.  Estimation is the forecasting of what resources a project will use in terms of time, money, and staff to deliver a certain amount of functionality.  As a technical activity it must deal with complex, sparse, amorphous, and ambiguous data and do it in an intelligent and honest way.  As a business practice, it must navigate a minefield of executive wishes, business realities, productivity constraints, and hidden and often highly political agendas.

Underlying the activity of estimation are some basic assumptions that need to be challenged.  If we do this, we can locate estimation in its correct role as a business information and risk quantification function.  This allows us to apply legitimate mathematical approaches that can provide highly valuable guidance to an essential, but often compromised, business function.

This presentation presents several “unmyths” of project estimation (as well as explaining what an unmyth is) and provides formulae that describe how effective project estimation should function.

About the Presenter:

Phillip Glen Armour has been an active software developer for over forty years.  During that time he has served as a programmer, systems analyst, project manager, database administrator, tester, and pretty much every other role there is to play in systems development.

Phil’s focus for the last few years has been on software project estimation.  As well as running an independent consulting practice for over 24 years, he also works for the premier software estimation tool developer where his latest activities have included creating two estimation toolsets and implementing an estimation Center of Excellence at a major insurance company.

Phil has been a contributing editor at ACM’s flagship publication Communications of the ACM since 2000 penning a column entitled “The Business of Software.”  He is also the author of The Laws of Software Process: A New Model for the Production and Management of Software [Auerbach Publishers 2004].  He is a member of IEEE and a Senior Member of ACM.